By Tommy Rezac
Hate will never win.
This is the motto that the Nebraska men’s basketball team has adopted in response to a video made by a UNL student this week – a video in which the student, Daniel Kleve, claims to be the “most active white nationalist in the Nebraska area.”
On Wednesday, Nebraska coach Tim Miles attended a “UNL Against Hate” rally in front of the Nebraska Union after members of the team had expressed concern over some of the comments made by Kleve in the video.
“I think as the head coach, it was important for me to let our guys know I’m with them,” Miles said. “I’ve never gone through that, whether it be a matter of privilege or whatever, I don’t walk in shoes of racism…I was there for them.”
Junior Glynn Watson and senior Evan Taylor were with Miles on Friday afternoon at the Bob Devaney Sports Center to address their stance against Kleve’s views and how they want their message to be perceived.
“In light of the recent events on campus regarding hate speech, our team would like to deliver a message against racism that encourages positivity,” Taylor said. “We encourage all of the Husker athletes and student body to get behind us. The message that we want to send is ‘hate never wins’ and to spread love.”
For Taylor and the rest of the team, knowing that Miles was present at Wednesday’s rally reassured them that their head coach always has the teams’ best interests in mind; on and off the court.
“I think it just shows how much that Coach Miles has our back,” Taylor said. “As soon as we came with him to the idea, he was on board. He was all ears. For him to go out, take time out of his day, especially in the midst of our season, to take a couple hours out of his day to go hear about something that doesn’t really concern him, but it concerns his players, it lets us know he has our back.”
Miles said Taylor and senior Anton Gill texted him as soon as the Minnesota game was over on Tuesday night, expressing their concerns over the content and views expressed in Kleve’s video.
“There’s no doubt that going into the Minnesota game, it affected the mood of our team,” Miles said.
For Saturday’s game against Rutgers, which tips off at 3 p.m., the team plans to wear matching shirts with the motto “hate never wins” on them. Miles said the team is working with the Office of Multicultural Affairs and UNL administration on more ways to spread the team’s message of love and unity.
“We want to make sure it’s a good thing, and that it’s open to all of the people who want to stand up against racism, prejudice and hate,” Miles said.”
On Thursday evening at approximately 7:08 p.m., every member of team took to Twitter and tweeted out, “Hate will never win.”
— Kelly Mosier ? (@kmosier42) February 9, 2018
“We talked about in our group message, and how we were going to use our platform to spread the positivity message,” Taylor said. “The idea came up that we should all tweet it at the same time and get everybody’s attention. The slogan was just a collective thing that we all used.”
One idea thought of on the plane ride home from the Minnesota game Tuesday was a boycott of Saturday’s game against Rutgers, but that idea was ‘overwhelmingly’ rejected.
“There were a lot of different directions we could have taken it,” Taylor said. “The term boycott did come up, but as a team, we sat down as a team, just players, we thought about what was best for us moving forward, but also the message we wanted to deliver.”
The solidarity shown by Taylor and the rest of the team this week makes Miles prouder than ever to be leading this group of athletes.
A group of athletes that wants to make sure the safety and security of all UNL students, and all who are targeted by racism and hate, are protected.
“It makes me very proud of them,” Miles said. “It tells me that they’ve got integrity. It tells me that they’re thoughtful about others. They’ve got compassion and empathy and they’re against some very bad things in this world.”